If you have a website your main objective will always be to show up high in search results whenever someone is looking for your products or services. To accomplish this you need to have your website optimized for search engines - this is SEO.
When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), guiding principles are changing constantly. SEO strategies that worked 3 years or five years ago may not work today, or worse – they can cause penalties, thus getting you pushed off the coveted page one spot.
When working as an SEO consultant, it’s important to stay current on industry trends and search engine algorithm changes or else your strategies could be ineffective, obsolete, or even harmful to the websites you’re working on.
However, as I've been in SEO for over 10 years I've seen many trends come and go however; the basics always stay the same. These basics should form the core of your overall SEO strategy, so that you can weather any industry changes without worry. Not only that, but by sticking to the basics, you’ll maximize your SEO results over the long term.
TECHNICAL SEO MUST BE THE FOUNDATION
Performing a technical SEO audit will help you see the things that a search engine wants to see and looks for in every site. The basics are having things like a sitemap and a robots.txt file. It means having in the proper places - Title Tags, H-Tags, Meta Descriptions on each page. It's also looking for things like friendly URLs, broken links, page load time, crawl errors, and responsive design. These are all things that can affect the performance of your website in the search engines.
KEYWORDS WILL ALWAYS BE IMPORTANT
No matter how the industry changes, search terms i.e., keywords will always matter. Without keywords, how will you be found in search queries? Knowing the search terms a user may type in to find your products or services is critical. Many times it will be more "search phrases" than just keywords. And the search terms should flow naturally in your content, so adding latent search phrases which simply means adding many different versions of the same search phrase. However, the keywords themselves will always be a relevant aspect of any SEO campaign.
CONTENT REMAINS THE CROWN
Even if you have a user friendly website, added your technical SEO and the correct keywords, but have little to no content - you will have a very difficult time ranking and staying at the top. If you did happen to make it to the top, all a competitor needs to do to take your place is having properly structured SEO on their site.
Having properly structured content is the most misunderstood aspect of SEO. Remember, search engines are machines with a program (algorithm) seeking certain information in certain places, so it will know when it should list a website in the search results for a search query.
Your Title Tags should be written properly and the Meta Descriptions need to be engaging and all keyword rich - unique to each page. Page content needs to be structured in a proper layout with H-Tags numbered and placed in the proper places.
Home page content should be at least 1500 words with headlines, sub-headlines and short paragraphs. Many times clients will say, "nobody reads the content anyway!" That may be true, but the search engines do, and that's how they know when to pull up your site for a search query.
OPTIMIZING IMAGES CAN BE YOUR SECRET WEAPON
One thing that is usually missed is the importance of optimizing your images. Images are seen by people - not machines. Search engines can only read images from the back end. Proper naming of images and optimizing the meta data in the back end with keywords can make a big difference on any website.
I've covered the basics of on-page SEO and there is much more off-page SEO that can still be applied to help a website rank higher. The off-page SEO strategies can trendy and change rapidly; however, there are some basics that will never change.
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